We have used intracellular dye-filling combined with multiple-labelling immunofluorescence to examine the dendritic morphology of neurons and their relations with neuropeptide-containing preganglionic terminals in the lumbar sympathetic chain of guinea-pigs. Presumptive vasoconstrictor neurons with immunoreactivity for both tyrosine hydroxylase and neuropeptide Y dendritic fields that were significantly smaller, on average, than those of presumptive pilomotor neurons containing immunoreactivity to tyrosine hydroxylase but not to neuropeptide Y. However, there was considerable variation in the sizes of the dendritic fields of the vasoconstrictor neurons. Preganglionic nerve terminals containing immunoreactivity to calcitonin gene-related peptide, but not to substance P, only surrounded cell bodies of vasoconstrictor neurons containing immunoreactivity to tyrosine hydroxylase and neuropeptide Y. In most cases, the neuropeptide-containing preganglionic terminals were not associated closely with the distal dendrites of these neurons. Few neuropeptide-containing terminals were associated closely with either the cell bodies or dendrites of the pilomotor neurons. These results show that there is a considerable range in the size of dendritic trees of sympathetic final motor neurons. Some of this variation is related to the pathways within which the neurons lie, so that presumptive pilomotor neurons generally are larger than presumptive vasoconstrictor neurons. The marked variation in size of vasoconstrictor neurons raises the possibility that there may be a size dependent recruitment of these neurons, similar to that seen in pools of spinal motor neurons. The distribution of the peptide-containing preganglionic endings suggests that they would act predominantly at the cell body and proximal dendrites of the final motor neurons.
- Intracellular dye-filling
- Synaptic input